A majority of the tech world didn't know what to make of news when an app named Yo received $1million in seed funding from investors. The new app lets users send “Yo” messages to one another.
Yo is a messaging app on smartphones which boasts of a simple but unique feature. Users can send "Yo" messages to each other simply with a click of an icon. It is kind of like Facebook's long abandoned Poke feature with a new name.
Yo is generating a buzz that hasn't been seen since Snapchat came along in 2011. Apps and services with a lot more variety have failed to hit the seven-figure mark in initial investments, but Yo had no such problems. It even cracked the top 10 on App Store within 48 hours of its release.
The absurdly high $$$ figure coupled with the app's supremely limited functionality had many reaching out for calendars to check if it's a belated April fool joke.
Well, it wasn't a joke, and neither is the app as stupid as you might think. Yo might appear to be a new tech fad but in a way its advent was a given.
With technological advances, people have more information on their hands at a much faster pace. We want to communicate fast. Users now prefer simplicity over variety.
The foundation of this 'simple is better' tech trend of the 21st century was laid when Twitter made its entry back in 2006. The 140 –character limit set by the micro-blogging site on its content proved to be a big hit, and hinted to social networking developers that their audience is tired of complex platforms.
Ephemeral photo-sharing app Snapchat's success of the last few years further proves this point. At last count, its users were sending 700 million photos and videos per day. The fact that Facebook wanted to buy it so bad also shows that experts feel snappy services with minimalistic feature are the future of their industry going forward.
Yo may seem like a stupid idea now, but it's not.
It has even overtaken Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat to become the fifth most popular app in the US Apple app store. But its developers have really only taken the general public's desire of simplicity and worked with it; perhaps taken a bit to the extreme.
What many fail to see is that Yo's simplistic feature has revived the long lost form of one-bit communication. As venture capital Marc Andreessen put it: "Yo is an instance of ‘one-bit communication’ – a message with no content other than the fact that it exists. Yes or no. Yo or no yo."